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Niacinamide: Why Every Skin Type Can (and Probably Should) Use It

January 1 | 3 minute read

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Words by George Epaminondas & Samantha Brigden

Originally published on | February 28

Some skincare ingredients hold a special place in our hearts – and our routines. They tend to be the ones that have multiple benefits, work for just about every skin type and play nice with other actives. At the top of our list? Niacinamide (pronounced NYE-a-sin-a-mide, by the way!).

More than just the star of some of your favourite trending products, niacinamide has earnt legend status thanks to its abilities to treat everything from breakouts to pigmentation, sensitivity and dryness. Here's everything you need to know about this over-achieving, jack-of-all-trades ingredient.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 that can be easily absorbed by the body. This is vital as our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin B3 – instead, it has to be applied topically. You might also see it listed as nicotinamide or niacin on an ingredient list.

What are the benefits of niacinamide for skin?

One of niacinamide’s greatest benefits is its ability to help strengthen your skin barrier by kickstarting the production of ceramides – aka the fats that help your skin retain moisture. A damaged barrier can manifest in many ways, from dryness and dehydration to sensitivity and breakouts.

But that’s not all! Niacinamide can help to balance oil production and minimise the appearance of pores, while also brightening uneven tone, dark spots and blemish marks. Additionally, its antioxidant properties can help to protect your skin from damage, soothing irritation and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with time.

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What skin types should use niacinamide?

Just about everyone! Those with sensitive skin could benefit from niacinamide’s soothing properties, while those with dry or dehydrated skin will love its barrier-boosting power. If you're an oily or combination type, you will probably love its oil-balancing and brightening properties.

How do you add niacinamide to your skincare routine?

If you want to add niacinamide to your routine, look for leave-on products like serums, moisturisers and masks that let its many benefits really sink in.

Also, don’t skip niacinamide-spiked eye creams: it can be a great choice to help brighten, hydrate and strengthen the delicate under-eye skin.

What ingredients can you pair with niacinamide?

Here's where niacinamide really stands out: it pairs extremely well with other active ingredients.

When used alongside retinol, niacinamide can help alleviate some of retinol's potential side effects, like skin irritation, dryness and flakiness. This is an especially good combination if you're new to retinol and need to build up your skin’s tolerance. Apply first, wait a minute for it to fully absorb, then apply your retinol of choice over the top. 

Looking for a heavy dose of hydration? Pair niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. Try using hyaluronic acid first (as a humectant, it will pull moisture in), then follow with niacinamide (its barrier-supporting properties will help lock in this moisture). 

For super smooth and supple skin, using niacinamide alongside chemical exfoliants like AHAs (lactic and glycolic acids) and BHAs (salicylic acid) to help even out tone and texture.  Just ensure you allow each layer to thoroughly dry before applying the next product to minimise the risk of irritation.

Related topics and brand tags

Skin careBody careExfoliantSerumMoisturiser

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